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DC Sports Betting

The District of Columbia does legal sports betting a little differently than its state counterparts – and the results have been decidedly mixed.

While DC’s geographically-limited sportsbooks – featured exclusively within or near Washington’s marquee sports venues – have been thriving since sports betting was legalized, the DC Lottery-run mobile sports betting operator has struggled to keep up. And if that continues, it’ll be difficult for DC to justify its mobile market monopoly.

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For the foreseeable future, DC residents and visitors have just one district-wide online sportsbook to choose from: GambetDC, which is operated by the DC Lottery. And it has been riddled with problems since its launch, between untimely outages, a wonky, unreliable interface and operator-friendly odds that severely restrict player payouts.

Two more notable operators – Caesars and BetMGM – offer online betting, but only within a two-block radius of the stadiums to which they’re tethered. Here’s how we rate those books.

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DC Sportsbooks

Caesars Review Logo
Icon rating a-
  • Pro: Largest retail sportsbook in America.
  • Con: Live betting data can be slower to load than some competitors.
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Caesars Review

Caesars is proving to be one of the most aggressively expanding brands in sports betting. Unfortunately, like all major U.S. sportsbooks, they are quick to limit you if you go on a tear and their odds boost promos offer low maximum bet limits.

Bonus iconKnown for: $1,250 On Caesars + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®

Visit Caesars
BetMGM Review Logo
Icon rating a-
  • Pro: Voted Casino Operator of the Year in 2021 and 2022.
  • Con: Quick to lower your limits when you're on a heater.
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BetMGM Review

BetMGM is one of the top-rated sportsbooks in the U.S. offering some of the best live betting odds in the industry. They’re also the largest iGaming operator across the U.S.

Bonus iconKnown for: $1,000 Risk-free Bet

Visit BetMGM
FanDuel Review Logo
Icon rating a-
  • Pro: Seamless transition from DFS to sportsbook with one wallet.
  • Con: Odds boosts and promos generally have low max bet limits.
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FanDuel Review

FanDuel reigns supreme right now as the No. 1 betting site in America. And it has largely earned that spot on the strength of superior brand recognition, an easy-to-use product, an overwhelming number of markets for North America’s most popular sports, and representation in every state in which it is permitted to offer legal sports betting.

Bonus iconKnown for: $1,000 "No Sweat First Bet"

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DraftKings Review Logo
Icon rating a-
  • Pro: Lots of promos and odds boosts.
  • Con: Indirect and unhelpful customer service.
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DraftKings Review

DraftKings had a solid reputation as the leading DFS provider in the country, so the shift to legal sports betting felt natural. They offer one of the most voluminous collections of ongoing promos and odds boosts in the industry as they cater to the beginner crowd. However, their reputation has dwindled as outspoken CEO Jason Robins leads the charge of the anti-profitable bettor mentality that runs rampant amongst sportsbooks that are quick to limit winning players.

Bonus iconKnown for: 20% Deposit Match up to $1,000

Visit DraftKings
PointsBet Review Logo Online since: 2015
Icon rating b+
  • Pro: 100% independent.
  • Con: After using the app for a while, you will no longer be qualified for promotions designated for “recreational” players.
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PointsBet Review

PointsBet’s innovative nature shows that they don’t want to just be another book you place typical bets. Unfortunately, they are quick to limit bettors on a hot streak and limit the number of promos you’re able to take advantage of, making it necessary for you to shop at other books regularly.

Bonus iconKnown for: 5 Risk-free Bets up to $500

Visit PointsBet
Barstool Sportsbook Review Logo
Icon rating b+
  • Pro: Interactive bets with their known personalities.
  • Con: Below-average odds.
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Barstool Sportsbook Review

Barstool Sportsbook’s controversial practices have made them one of the most polarizing companies in sports media. In addition, their fun-over-function business model offers little profitability for bettors who quickly find themselves limited after a hot streak.

Bonus iconKnown for: $1,000 Risk-free Bet

Visit Barstool Sportsbook
WynnBET Review Logo
Icon rating b
  • Pro: Above-average betting limits.
  • Con: Boosts and parlays offered are either high-risk or low-value plays.
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WynnBET Review

Wynn has been steeped in the legal gambling scene in Vegas for as long as anyone out there. In other occurrences where you have an operator with a rich history and influence in retail casino operations and resorts, the focus can predominantly be on slots and table games. The online sportsbook can be a casualty of convenience. We were pleasantly surprised to find that isn’t the case with the WynnBET app. 

Bonus iconKnown for: Bet $100, Get $100

Visit WynnBET
Unibet Review Logo
Icon rating b-
  • Pro: Established global sports betting brand.
  • Con: Withdrawals can be slower than average.
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Unibet Review

Unibet offers its customers an excellent online betting experience. Our Unibet review feels that the company's experience as a global brand shines through with a streamlined, easy-to-use gaming platform.

Bonus iconKnown for: $500 Risk-Free Bet (PA only)

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BetRivers Review Logo
Icon rating c+
  • Pro: Large offering of alternative lines and props.
  • Con: Will limit bettors on a heater.
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BetRivers Review

Unless you live near a physical casino/sportsbook to potentially take advantage of some rewards programs, there is no reason to use BetRivers as your primary sportsbook.

Bonus iconKnown for: 100% Deposit Match up to $250

Visit BetRivers
Bally Bet Review Logo
Icon rating c
  • Pro: End-to-end tech through its ownership of Bet.Works.
  • Con: Low sign-up bonus.
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Bally Bet Review

Bally Bet’s bare-bones operation and limited features don’t warrant much consideration as a part of your regular sportsbook rotation unless you find holes in their lines. Still, it’s a company to be bullish about going forward.

Bonus iconKnown for: 100% First Bet Match up to $50

Visit Bally Bet
SI Sportsbook Review Logo
Icon rating c
  • Pro: BetFeed ranks most popular incoming bets.
  • Con: Non-existent customer service.
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SI Sportsbook Review

The Sports Illustrated Sportsbook is very much in its infancy, which is noticeable upon browsing the betting site or app, as the design is mediocre to go along with below-average betting odds. However, their relationship with 888 Holdings should allow them to evolve as they continue to grow in this hyper-competitive space.

Bonus iconKnown for: Bet $5, Get $100 (VA)

Visit SI Sportsbook
Hard Rock Sportsbook Review Logo
Icon rating c
  • Pro: If the house is a rockin' don't bother knockin'
  • Con: Limited betting menu.
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Hard Rock Sportsbook Review

Hard Rock sportsbook is an excellent choice for super casual bettors. It is simplistic and offers some of the best sign-up bonuses for new users looking to try sports betting for the first time or those betting for light entertainment.

Bonus iconKnown for: Promos vary by state.

Visit Hard Rock

DC Betting Apps

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM has found multiple ways to build up goodwill with DC sports bettors, including live streaming for a wide range of sports, numerous ongoing promos and a Parlay Plus promotion that increases the payout on a successful parlay of 4-to-7 games. If the customer service improves, BetMGM could stay No. 1 for a while.

Check out our BetMGM sportsbook review.

Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars does just about everything right. Its customer support is the best in the business, and its welcome bonus is among the more generous in the industry. That, combined with the immense brand capital Caesars has around the globe, make this one of the most popular betting operators in the United States.

Check out our Caesars sportsbook review.

DC Promos and Bonuses

Just about everyone loves free stuff, and folks from the nation’s capital are certainly no different. DC-based sportsbooks are clamoring to add new customers – and that’s great news for those of you looking to join the fray. Here are the top bonuses and signup offers available in DC:

Caesars: $1,100 Risk-Free Bet

This sports betting bonus is pretty straightforward compared to the industry standard but still comes with many terms and conditions worth knowing before you jump in. DC players get a free bet in the equal value of your first wager up to $1,100 if you lose your first bet. The first bet must be made within 30 days of creating your account to qualify.

Free bets will be added to a participant’s Caesars account within three business days after their qualifying wager is graded as a loss by Caesars. You must use your free bet within 14 calendar days from it being awarded, or it will expire. You do not get the full value of a free bet token back if your wager with it wins.

BetMGM: $1,000 Risk-Free Bet

BetMGM has an average sign-up bonus for DC residents, offering a $1,000 risk-free bet for new users. It’s a bump up from the lowly $600 they were offering for a while.

With the risk-free bet, you only get money back if your first bet loses, and they match your first bet up to $1,000. There are no minimum or maximum odds restrictions on your first bet, which is nice since sign-up promos usually feature those. While that’s admirable insurance, it rewards you with nothing if your first bet hits. For that reason, deposit matches are generally slightly more appealing.

DC Sports Betting Quick Facts

Launch Date       May 2020
# of Betting Sites       3
Online Sports Betting       ✅ Yes
Retail Sports Betting       ✅ Yes
Online Casino       ❌ No
Retail Casino       ❌ No
College Sports Betting       ✅ Yes (but not on in-district teams)
2022 Population (est.)       5.3 million
2021 Betting Handle       $143.2 million
Tax Rate       10 percent

How to Bet in DC

Choose your sportsbook

Consult our top list above for the best sports betting options available to you in DC. Our interactive list allows you to sort sportsbooks based on a number of criteria, including banking options, bonuses and quality of customer service.

If you’re looking for more information before making your choice, be sure to check out our detailed, unbiased reviews for each of the top sportsbooks in DC. This is especially important if you want to understand how each book’s bonus offers work.

Register online or in person

Registration requirements vary slightly by sportsbook, but most follow the same protocols. Be sure to have your personal information (name, address, phone number) and credit card details (number, expiry date, CVV) handy.

Deposit and claim your bonus

Once you’re comfortable with how your sportsbook’s new signup bonus works, it’s time to make your initial deposit and claim whatever bonus might be available (though the pickings are slim when it comes to inducements at DC sportsbooks).

Select and finalize your bet

Congratulations! You’re ready to place a wager. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the app, kiosk or physical sportsbook setup before diving in. Most operators make it easy for new sports bettors to navigate, but it’s still good to know where everything is.

From there, you can place any type of wager you like; the most popular bet types are the moneyline, spread or total. You can also dive into team or player props, or even kick things off with a futures bet.

Once you have the desired wager(s) in your betting card, take one last look to ensure you’ve made the selections you want. If everything is good, simply select “Bet” on your app or at your kiosk, or sign off on your bet at a retail location – and you’re off!

DC Legal Sports Betting History

Here’s a look at DC’s sports betting history:

2018: DC Lottery to Run Sports Betting

Not long after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, DC Councilman Jack Evans introduced Bill B22-0944. The bill would allow for both retail and online sports betting within the district, while putting the DC Lottery in charge of both regulation and management of mobile wagering.

The bill reached Mayor Muriel Bowser following the addition of three amendments in December 2018, and optimism was high that legal sports wagering would make its way to DC early in 2019. 

2019: Bill Signed Into Law

Bowser did as expected and signed off on Bill B22-0944 in January, setting the stage for legal sports wagering to make its way to DC. Yet, before the bill could formally be signed into law, it would need to gain the approval of the US Congress (a barrier any standard U.S. state would not need to pass).

Congress ultimately saw no issue with the sports betting bill, and it became legal in May. Two months later, DC’s Office of Lottery and Gaming finalized the district’s rules and regulations, opening the doors for legal wagering.

2020: GambetDC Debut Panned

After a number of delays, GambetDC finally made its debut in Washington in May, ringing in the era of legal sports betting in DC. In addition to having launched at a time when COVID-19 had shut down most of the global sports calendar, the app is widely panned for offering some of the worst odds of any operator in the country.

Disgruntled sports bettors finally get another option in July, when William Hill launches at Capital One Arena. Later branded as Caesars Sportsbook, the renowned sportsbook is permitted to take bets either on the premises, or within a two-block radius of the venue – and it immediately overtakes GambetDC as the sportsbook of choice.

2021: Big Players Enter the Space

On the heels of William Hill/Caesars launching its mobile app in DC in December 2020, BetMGM entered the DC sports betting space with the launch of its geo-restricted app and retail sports betting offering at Nationals Park. The two major brands significantly outperformed GambetDC, which held steady with its subpar odds offerings.

Another sportsbook made its debut in 2021, albeit one with a much smaller impact on the DC sports betting landscape. Grand Central Restaurant and Bar launched its own sportsbook within its venue in October 2021, offering two betting kiosks along with a staffed betting window where bettors could make their in-person wagers. 

2022: More Trouble for GambetDC

Another year, another major black mark against GambetDC, with the app failing to work for an unknown number of iOS users before and during the Super Bowl. GambetDC offered affected users a $10 in-game bet for the outage, and paid the district $500,000 in compensation; its reputation took an even bigger hit as a result of the malfunction.

Responsible Gaming in DC

Like most U.S. states, DC has put safeguards in place to ensure that bettors have a way out of any potential trouble spots. 

The DC chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling (where the organization is based) is the district’s main resource for players who seek help. It provides access to treatment programs, screening tools and a host of self-help resources.

Visit the National Council on Problem Gambling site.

Sports Leagues to Bet On

What Can You Bet On in DC?

It will come as no surprise to see a rather extensive list of major professional and amateur sports available to DC bettors – a list that includes (but is not limited to):

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • NCAA Football
  • NCAA Basketball
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • Golf
  • Auto Racing
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • MMA

That doesn’t leave much off the table, but there are three major markets in which wagering in DC is prohibited:

  • Politics
  • Esports
  • Entertainment (including awards shows)

DC Teams to Bet On

DC’s unique sports betting regulations make the district’s two marquee sports venues veritable betting hotspots. Fans of DC’s in-house sports teams can not only make wagers within those two sites, they also have access to expansive areas sponsored by a pair of heavy sportsbook hitters and devoted solely to sports betting.

Here’s a look at the three major professional sports franchises that play their home games in DC:

Washington Wizards Betting

Capital One Arena made history on May 26, 2021, becoming the first North American sports venue in history to open a sportsbook on site. William Hill was the lucky operator, signing a 10-year deal with arena owner Monumental Sports; not long after, Caesars took control of William Hill and rebranded the arena in honor of the Roman emperor.  

Washington Nationals Betting

Might the BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park serve as the blueprint for future sports betting bars and lounges at other MLB parks? The pioneering sports bar boasts multiple big screens, six betting windows, 17 kiosks and a 40 foot bar within its 4,000 square feet of space – and with street-level access, it can be open year-round.

Washington Capitals Betting

Caesars Sportsbook at Capital One Arena is a two-story behemoth that also features street access, meaning it can be open for most of the year. A 1,500-square-foot LED screen greets patrons outside the sportsbook – and once inside, they have access to several big-screen TVs along with 17 betting windows and 12 self-serve kiosks.

DC Retail Sportsbooks

With no casinos or other places to gamble, DC has had to get creative with its approach to sports betting. Third-party sportsbooks can only be set up in Washington’s major sports sites, and can only offer app services within a two-block radius of those venues.

Here are the places where you can bet in-person in DC:

Caesars Sportsbook at Capital One Arena (Caesars Sportsbook, 601 F St NW, Washington, DC, 20004)

Grand Central Restaurant, Bar and Sportsbook (Grand Central Sportsbook, 2447 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009)

Nationals Park (BetMGM Sportsbook, ​​1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC, 20003)

DC Sports Betting Tax & Handle

DC is one of the few regions in the United States where the percentage of sports betting patrons using retail locations exceeds that of the mobile wagering audience. And as long as GambetDC continues to underwhelm, that will likely be the case.

Here’s a look at DC’s monthly sports betting handle beginning in 2020, divided between commercial operators and GambetDC:

2020

MonthCommercial HandleGambetDC Handle
June        N/A$0.2 million
July        N/A$0.7 million
August        $9.1 million$2.1 million
September        $12.1 million$3.2 million
October        $14.3 million$4.1 million
November        $13.7 million$3.8 million
December        $12.4 million$4.2 million
Total$61.7 million$18.7 million

2021

MonthCommercial HandleGambetDC Handle
January        $10.5 million$5.1 million
February        $11.1 million$4.1 million
March        $11.4 million$3.8 million
April        $8 million$2.7 million
May        $10.6 million$3 million
June        $16 million$3.4 million
July        $10.6 million$2.1 million
August        $10.8 million$1.6 million
September        $17 million$3.6 million
October        $20.7 million$5.5 million
November        $16.1 million$5.2 million
December        $14.2 million$4.9 million
Total$143.2 million$45.6 million

2022

MonthCommercial HandleGambetDC Handle
January         $12.8 million$5.7 million
February        $15.1 million$3.9 million
March        $14.2 million$6.2 million
April        $13.1 million$5.1 million
May        $12.2 million$5 million
June        $9.9 million$3.7 million
July        $8 million$3.2 million
Total$85.6 million$33.0 million

Sportsbooks pay a 10 percent tax rate on gross gaming revenue to the district.

DC Sports Betting FAQ

Can I legally wager on sports in DC?

Yes! After a few COVID-related delays, proprietary betting app GambetDC accepted the first legal wagers in DC in May 2020.

 

Am I permitted to bet in DC even if I don’t live there?

You can create an account, deposit, make bets and even withdraw using any active sportsbook in DC, as long as you are within district borders. Be sure to complete all of your transactions before you leave; once you’re outside the district, you will no longer be able to access your account(s).

Can I bet on esports in DC?

Esports betting is currently prohibited in DC.

How big is the DC sports betting market?

DC slots in at No. 50 among U.S. states and territories in population at 718,355 people (2022 estimate).

Who is responsible for overseeing sports betting in DC?

The DC Office of Lottery and Gaming has jurisdiction over sports betting in the district. You’ll find plenty of info on the website, including regulations and licensing information, additional responsible gaming resources and compliance and enforcement info.

Which online sportsbook operators will be the next to launch in DC?

You can expect the industry’s other heavy hitters to come banging on the door if DC decides to open the playing field further. FanDuel and DraftKings are the top two names on the list by virtue of their market dominance across the rest of the country.